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Thread: Can people really die from getting electrocuted through their headphones?

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    Default Can people really die from getting electrocuted through their headphones?

    People getting electrocuted to death... by their headphones?! This better not be true. Apparently it's happening because they're listening to headphones on their phones while the phone is plugged into the wall?

    Snopes says inconclusive... but I don't care about Snopes. My boyfriend told this to me, and I said something like "this is why I don't like the news" but quickly added "I like knowing though - this is how we protect ourselves"

    This really seems like fear mongering to me. I don't plan on confronting him about it, I'm just wondering if anyone else has heard of this happening? I imagine it's probably possible to happen if the headphones are crappy and/or there's enough voltage.

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    Default Re: Can people really die from getting electrocuted through their headphones?

    I don't know much about headphones except you can use them as a mic, ref: https://djtechtools.com/2015/02/22/h...ones-as-a-mic/

    Since most (if not all headphones) have rubberized coating on the ear part, I tend to feel as if the engineers have already accounted for this potential deadly issue.

    Either way... I think we might want to err on the side of caution on this one and be wary of plugging our ears directly into the wall :/

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    Default Re: Can people really die from getting electrocuted through their headphones?

    I'd say highly unlikely. The devices headphones are plugged in to don't generate enough current at all. Even if plugged into the wall, there'd have to be a major malfunction somewhere, and I doubt if a headphone cord could even carry enough current to kill a person.

    On the "can be a mic" comment - anything that can generate sound, can in theory also be a microphone. Some nerdy guys were able to turn a computers speaker system into a microphone and listen to converasations in the room. They're not very efficient as a mic, but it is possible.
    When you are one step ahead of the crowd, you are a genius.
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    Default Re: Can people really die from getting electrocuted through their headphones?

    I'm going to agree with the Duke on this one. Normally no issue.

    However, during a lightning storm, a power-line getting struck can route lightning into the house, and it can pop out of any mains outlet, following any cables plugged in, including in that case, jumping across the power charger for the phone, across the phone, across the jacks and into the person. I've actually watched a lightning bolt fry a mains outlet AND a regular hardwired phone jack during a strike right at the pole and transformer at the office. Awful spooky to see that happen..

    Moral of the story, don't have any apparatus plugged in during a lightning storm and having the apparatus connected to your body in some way (a charging plugged in phone being held included)..

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    Default Re: Can people really die from getting electrocuted through their headphones?

    Agree with Bob. There is a somewhat famous story of a man who had a near death experience and was in the hospital for a very long time, due to being on the phone during a lightning storm and subsequent strike.

    His name is Dannion Brinkley and the book is "Saved by the Light".

    However, there is some controversy about the story as he tells it.
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    Default Re: Can people really die from getting electrocuted through their headphones?

    Electricity behaves in strange fashion, but this seems unlikely. While possible, I would worry about a 1,000 other things first.
    The quantum field responds not to what we want; but to who we are being. Dr. Joe Dispenza

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    Default Re: Can people really die from getting electrocuted through their headphones?

    no need to worry... unless you listen voodoo music in the headphones, voodoo music can cause terrible lightning storms, it was well documented on an 80's film named Chucky that was based on a real story.

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    Default Re: Can people really die from getting electrocuted through their headphones?

    I'm glad y'all think this is ridiculous as I do! My boyfriend came around too, and we agree the "headphones in question" were probably not safe to begin with. Indeed, I've got plenty enough to worry about without needing to be afraid of my headphones.

    I use headphones a lot. They're no more dangerous than a telephone is.

    I hadn't thought of lightning storms either, excellent points there!

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    Default Re: Can people really die from getting electrocuted through their headphones?

    @Petra - I don't think you would get electrocuted from an UN-PLUGGED, not CHARGING phone. If you have a power line to the MAINS, through that line from your phone to the charger to the mains, one is at risk.. Like sleeping with an electric blankey, or heating pad, you are putting something connected to the mains right on your body..

    Like taking a shower during a lightning storm, a lightning bolt can indeed go through the grounding, plumbing and thru the pipes in the house, and once again, one could very well be at the end of where the lightning discharges.. During a lightning storm, a lot of charges develop, and even if not immediately struck with a bolt out of the blue, small streamers from cloud and ground can happen, where the charges do indeed build up, into what appears to be like a static electric (rub your feet on the dry rug during winter, and touch a doorknob)... spark.

    Being wireless, away from anything metallic, not taking a shower (another conduit path), and one would be relatively safe, unless the lightning bolt struck the structure and blasted it's way through.. That being the case, it won't matter if you are on a phone or not, if one is in the path able to be part of the massive ion storm, that effect will get one shocked.

    see post - http://projectavalon.net/forum4/show...=1#post1265077

    Lightning in the mains - imagine that to be your body as the juice is conducted through your charger (jumps the gap), through your charger cable, and through your phone into your hand/pocket/head.. Direct connect danger - no connect relatively safe



    Danger if plugged into the mains, and charging, connected to the phone:




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    Default Re: Can people really die from getting electrocuted through their headphones?

    To summarize ...

    Possible, but the risk level is not really any different than the risk of dying from being electrocuted by lightning while indoors..
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    Default Re: Can people really die from getting electrocuted through their headphones?

    As Bob says, it's about the low resistance path to your headphones. The low resistance being the copper wires in all our devices. If this path extends back uninterrupted to the plug in the wall there is indeed a chance of electrocution - albeit, a very small, small, small chance (under normal or regular conditions, that is - not electric storms!).

    As for the electricity jumping from one ear piece to the other through your head - highly unlikely under any conditions. That is because it is all about the low resistance path. The gap from ear piece to ear piece is very large and the resistance is very high. The most likely path would be along one side of the face and under the skin along the facial lining because it has the most moisture (water being a relatively low resistance medium).

    People can die from almost anything, given the exact right circumstances, so I would say, yes you can die being electrocuted by your headphones - but a snowball in hell would have an equal chance of not melting.
    Forget about it

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    Default Re: Can people really die from getting electrocuted through their headphones?

    As Ernie says too, the moment you have wired (low resistance) connections in the circuit and you are part of the circuit, it's gonna go through you.. IF you are WIRELESS, with a good enough air gap, very high resistance, the potential difference between you and the electrical source will have to be high enough for you to feel it, or get harmed.

    I actually WAS on a phone, not charging, but a landline phone during a lightning storm.. The lightning blasted the RJ plug right out of the jack, blew the phone off the wall and I could see the surge/burn, and I did get a shock.. Luckily I was on a highly insulated floor with a good rubber mat underneath, and a good rug.

    Lightning struck the power lines which had a telephone line running underneath about 1/8 of mile AWAY from my office.. It traveled mainly through the phone line no doubt blowing out everything else on the cable..

    Yes depending on your local, if there is lightning storms and you do have feeds from outside to inside your house, and if your power lines do get stuck (on average 10-20 times a year this happens in my part of the world, quite predictably and regularly spring summer. I disconnect all the stuff during lightning - surge protectors are not good for lightning, they explode..

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    Default Re: Can people really die from getting electrocuted through their headphones?

    Normally, a surge will burn out the secondary windings in the charger or rupture the resistor in series with the input. But a surge is so fast and can be driven by such high potential that it can still arc across the air gap and spike in your device.
    Forget about it

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    Default Re: Can people really die from getting electrocuted through their headphones?

    Quote Posted by Ernie Nemeth (here)
    As Bob says, it's about the low resistance path to your headphones. The low resistance being the copper wires in all our devices. If this path extends back uninterrupted to the plug in the wall there is indeed a chance of electrocution - albeit, a very small, small, small chance (under normal or regular conditions, that is - not electric storms!).

    As for the electricity jumping from one ear piece to the other through your head - highly unlikely under any conditions. That is because it is all about the low resistance path. The gap from ear piece to ear piece is very large and the resistance is very high. The most likely path would be along one side of the face and under the skin along the facial lining because it has the most moisture (water being a relatively low resistance medium).

    People can die from almost anything, given the exact right circumstances, so I would say, yes you can die being electrocuted by your headphones - but a snowball in hell would have an equal chance of not melting.
    Its actually more about the low resistant path from the actual lightning to a place where it can reach the low resistant path to your headphones. It has to get there first - and this is where the vast majority (like 99.9%) of the lack of risk lies.
    When you are one step ahead of the crowd, you are a genius.
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    Default Re: Can people really die from getting electrocuted through their headphones?

    Yes' the entire path from lightning strike to ear phones must be low resistance. Overhead services are most susceptible. But every service eventually ends up overhead somewhere...
    Also, there are other low resistance paths like copper plumbing, steel drains, neutral connections, alluminum siding, and the actual grounding method. Any of those can also host an overload event
    Forget about it

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    Default Re: Can people really die from getting electrocuted through their headphones?

    Also
    Water is a great conductor of electricity and our body is about 90% water if I remember correctly.
    We tend to take electricity for granted.
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    Default Re: Can people really die from getting electrocuted through their headphones?

    Quote Posted by Ernie Nemeth (here)
    Normally, a surge will burn out the secondary windings in the charger or rupture the resistor in series with the input. But a surge is so fast and can be driven by such high potential that it can still arc across the air gap and spike in your device.
    I forgot about arcs too. Even the word "arc" gives me the shudders.

    From Wikipedia:
    An electric arc, or arc discharge, is an electrical breakdown of a gas that produces an ongoing electrical discharge. The current through a normally nonconductive medium such as air produces a plasma; the plasma may produce visible light.

    What is Plasma? From Google:
    2. an ionized gas consisting of positive ions and free electrons in proportions resulting in more or less no overall electric charge, typically at low pressures (as in the upper atmosphere and in fluorescent lamps) or at very high temperatures (as in stars and nuclear fusion reactors).

    Example of an arc:

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    Default Re: Can people really die from getting electrocuted through their headphones?

    Arcing? You mean like this? (not a malfunction, just a switch opening)

    When you are one step ahead of the crowd, you are a genius.
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    Default Re: Can people really die from getting electrocuted through their headphones?

    In the mines we had to install a service 1 mile underground. We brought 16,000 volts from surface, stepped it down in a secure area to 5400 volts, ran that to the electrical room, then stepped it down again to 600 volts in another secure vault. The method of termination depended on electrical potential. The 16000 volt terminations require a very time consuming method all about arc mitigation. At 5400 volts the terminstions are somewhat less severe. At 600 volts the method of termination becomes almost moot. The arcing at high voltage is so dangerous that the spacing between terminations is over three feet plus contraptions to contain the inevitable arcing. At 600 volts the spacing between terminations is only a few inches..
    Last edited by Ernie Nemeth; 24th January 2019 at 22:54. Reason: spelling
    Forget about it

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    Default Re: Can people really die from getting electrocuted through their headphones?

    Even if you were to be electrocuted via headphones you'd be fine (lightning aside). The wire gauge is too thin.
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